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Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day is held annually on 17 September. The day observes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and to celebrate those who have become U.S. citizens. Below are some more facts and information on the U.S. Constitution and Constitution Day or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
The U.S. Constitution
- The U.S. Constitution, written in 1787 by a committee known as the Framers, was signed on September 17. It was initially ratified by a total of nine states out of the original thirteen colonies in 1788.
- The original Constitution lacked a description of the individual rights. It was only in 1791 that the first ten Amendments were included, which became known as the Bill of Rights.
- Among the Framers were James Madison who served as the chief draftsman and later came to be called the Father of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin,
- Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
- The Constitution was secretly written at the Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington accepted the post as the Commander of the Continental Army. Today, the building is called Independence Hall, located in Philadelphia.
- The Constitutional Convention was attended by 42 delegates wherein 39 signed the Constitution. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate to sign at 81, while Jonathan Dayton, at 26, was the youngest. Moreover, two of the United State’s Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were unable to sign the Constitution because they were in France and Britain, respectively. James Madison and George Washington were the two signers who later became U.S. Presidents.
- The original Constitution was only 4,543 words long, making it the shortest and oldest Constitution written in the world. Since it was ratified, over 11,000 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed but only 27 passed.
- When the Constitution was signed, the American population was 4 million. Philadelphia, which was then the capital, had 40,000 inhabitants. Today, the American population is more than327 million.
- Rhode Island was the last to sign on May 29, 1791, after failing to send a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
- Aside from English, Latin derivatives are also present in the document. Initially, it did not set forth any amendments for the right to vote. As a result, only male property-owners could vote, African-Americans were not considered citizens and women only got the right to vote in 1920.
- When the Constitution was ratified in 1787, the institution of slavery was enshrined through the “Three-Fifths Compromise.” It was only in 1865 that slavery was abolished through the 13th Amendment. The longest period in American history in which the Constitution was unchanged by amendments was from 1804 to 1865.
Celebrating Constitution Day:
- On November 26, 1789, President George Washington created the first national Thanksgiving Day to give thanks to the Constitution.
- In the early 1900s, several states started to celebrate Constitution Day, but it was only in 1940 when Congress formally designated the third Sunday in May as “I am an American Day.” By 1952, the day was moved to September 17th and called Citizenship Day.
- In 1939, successful newspaper publisher William Hearst, of Hearst Communications, stated that there should be a holiday to celebrate American citizenship for new and existing citizens. He used his newspaper to build support for his idea.
- Senator Robert Byrd was responsible for Citizenship Day’s name change to Constitution Day in 2004.
- The focus of Constitution Day is to educate people about the importance of the American Constitution and the freedoms and rights it offers American citizens.
- Many American citizens observe Constitution Day by flying American flags. It is also a day to learn about the Constitution and to take pride in one’s community through organized community activities.
- Becoming an American citizen is a long process and requires immigrants and refugees to know and take on American values, language and culture. Applicants are required to take a citizenship test.
- The Constitution Day is a federal event but not a holiday.
- Aside from learning the history and importance of the highest law of the land, it is also a day to promote sanitation and environmental causes.
Exciting Constitution Facts:
- While the Constitution is based on the principles of a democracy, the word ‘democracy’ does not appear in the constitution.
- Among the most glaring misspellings in the original Constitution was “Pensylvania” (Pennsylvania).
- A Pennsylvania General Assembly Clerk named Jacob Shallus was paid to pen the Constitution for $30, which is around $830 today.
- The four-page Constitution is currently on display at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. It is displayed behind a protective titanium and glass-framed case containing argon gas to preserve the parchment.
- The famous Liberty’s Voice, Patrick Henry, did not sign the Constitution because he “smelt a rat.”
- The formal term “The United States of America” was first used in the Declaration of Independence.
- On January 10, 1791, Vermont ratified the Constitution even though it had not yet become a state.
- From 1791, the Constitution was changed seventeen times.
- In 1841, when Vice President John Tyler assumed the presidency after the death of William Harrison, there was nothing in the Constitution that provided for the vice president to become president. Despite lacking Constitutional authority, Tyler assumed the presidency as has every succeeding vice president in the same position. It was only in 1967 that the 25th Amendment stated that the vice president technically becomes the president in cases of removal of the president from office, death, resignation or inability to discharge the powers of office.
Constitution Day Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Constitution Day Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day which is held annually on 17 September. The day observes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and to celebrate those who have become U.S. citizens.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Constitution Day Facts
- Father of the Constitution
- Pillars of the Constitution
- My Citizenship
- Compare Constitutions
- Fact or Fiction
- Towards Constitution Day
- Citizenship Test
- September 17th
- My American Hero
- Today I Learned
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Link will appear as Constitution Day Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 21, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.